I’m a pretty typical citizen of Idaho’s 2nd Congressional District: a second-generation Idahoan, a homemaker, a mother, a teacher, and a volunteer in my church and at my school. I never imagined that I would run for public office, but after seeing what’s been going on over the past few years, I feel called to respond. I believe I have a civic duty to try to make things better.
I was one of seven children. My grandparents emigrated from Germany to Idaho Falls in 1949, after surviving cold and near-starvation during the Second World War. My grandfather resorted to cutting down trees in local parks to use for heat, even though it could have sent him to a concentration camp.
They came to the United States with practically nothing, and lived for a time in a remodeled chicken coop. Eventually, they built on five acres and raised most of their own food. However modest their home was, it always had plenty of light. It was my grandmother’s way of coping with the darkness – literal and spiritual – that they had experienced in Germany. She often vowed that nobody in her family would go cold or hungry again.
I was born in Idaho Falls and raised in Ucon. We grew some of our own food, sharing a cow, pigs, chickens, a garden and goats with the family two houses down. Ours was where all the neighborhood kids played, thanks to a marvelous fort my brother inspired us to build, complete with rope bridge!
But the lessons of Germany were never far away, and I took from them strong Idaho values: to work hard, to help our neighbors, to cherish our democratic way of life, and to give back to our community.